eight&four Takes 3rd Place in UK’s Top 25 SME Culture Leaders

If you happened across last week’s post about eight&four’s company culture, you might’ve thought it all sounded a bit too good to be true. As we pointed out, claims of ‘family feel!’ and ‘regular pizza!’ are thrown around by every company whose MD has hired a nephew and reheated a takeaway in the communal microwave – but not so here. In a stroke of pure serendipity, it was announced on Tuesday that eight&four has been awarded third place in Real Business’s annual ‘UK’s Top 25 SME Culture Leaders’.

The awards recognise companies who look beyond Silicon Valley-style perks to build company culture from the ground up, resulting in ‘a strong company culture based on trust and aligning with what your employees need’. Ultimately, the judges agreed, successful company culture comes down to one thing: ‘employ[ing] the right people, for the right things and for the right reasons – those who fit in with the values you hope to push – [so that] culture will naturally be taken up.’

It’s not an easy task, especially in a small and therefore continuously evolving company – but eight&four founders and co-MDs, Kate Ross and Amy McCulloch, made company culture a founding pillar of eight&four from the outset. Kate had this to say about creating an award-winning company culture:

Setting up eight&four was always about creating the sort of environment that myself and Amy wanted to work in; a fun and supportive environment that you actually enjoyed being in, rather than feeling desperate to get out of at 5pm. A place that was stimulating and fresh and non-hierarchical, where ideas were welcomed and celebrated, rather than a place where you were expected to keep your head down.

It’s this tireless commitment to culture and wellbeing that makes eight&four such an inspiring place to work – because our culture doesn’t just shine through our team relationships, it feeds into our client work, too. It’s in everything from the cold Thursday afternoon beer I’m sipping as I write this blog to the BIMA session on Cannes’ creative storytelling that we’re heading to next week. It’s in the way that we deal with a crisis, and the support that we offer each other when we’re stressed. It’s in the knowledge that we’re here to help each other succeed, not to climb over each other to lift ourselves up.

A great company culture creates more than just a happy workforce. It facilitates teamwork and staff retention, meaning clients get to work with teams who’ve grown to know their brand inside and out over the years – which in turn means they trust us enough to give us the creative freedom to innovate. It’s a win-win which, in Kate’s words, ‘delivers dividends far in excess of the resource it takes to create and nurture’ – and we enjoy the process of creating it, every day.

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